Youssef Nabil’s Nostalgic Photo Fantasies

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Youssef Nabil dreams of days past — of the golden age of cinema, when theater lobbies were filled with hand-tinted stills from the current movies and coming attractions. The Cairo-born, New York-based artist makes luscious, hand-colored gelatin silver prints of artists, friends, and himself that are inspired by Egyptian movies posters and films of the ’40s and ’50s. Exploring a sense of longing and nostalgia, Nabil constructs sublime visions of people who he admires and his own place in a cinematic realm he dreamily inhabits.

Playful portrayals of actors Rossy de Palma, Salim Kechiouche, and Catherine Deneuve mingle with self-portraits shot viewing the pyramids, Paris by night, and the iconic Hollywood sign. On view in his first New York solo show at Yossi Milo Gallery, Nabil’s work enchants both the soul and the eye.

Youssef Nabil’s exhibition of hand-colored photographs at Yossi Milo Gallery runs through December 23. A comprehensive monograph of his work, published by Hatje Cantz in 2008, is available at Amazon.com.

Click through below for a gallery of images.

Youssef Nabil, Rossy de Palma, Madrid, 2002. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Funfair – Self-Portrait, Paris, 2005. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Sweet Temptation, Cairo, 1993. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Self-Portrait with Pyramid, Cairo, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Amani by Window, Cairo, 1993. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Salim Kechiouche, Paris, 2005. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Catherine Deneuve, Paris, 2010. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Say Goodbye – Self-Portrait, Alexandria, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Three Girls in Studio, Cairo, 1993. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Self-Portrait, Istanbul, 2009. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Rania, Cairo, 2002. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Self-Portrait, Hollywood, 2008. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Simone in Downtown Bar, Cairo, 1997. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Lonely Pasha, Cairo, 2002. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery

Youssef Nabil, Self-Portrait at Night, Paris, 2005. Courtesy the artist and Yossi Milo Gallery